I was born and raised on the plains of southern Minnesota, received my BS in Chemistry at Saint John’s University and MD degree from the University of Minnesota. It was as a medical student that I first learned about the polymerase chain reaction and how it could be used to assess minimal residual disease in patients with hematologic malignancies characterized by specific chromosome rearrangements. I became hooked on basic research. Following an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa from 1991-1994, I moved back to the University of Minnesota for fellowship training in hematology, oncology and transplantation. It was during my fellowship training that I was drawn into the field of genetics and the immune system by two influential mentors: Dr. Richard King and Dr. Timothy Behrens. Following my fellowship I did a post-doc in the Behrens’ lab, which led to the first genome-wide linkage study in lupus in 1998. In 2007, I moved to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation to continue my research in the genetic basis of autoimmune disease. With a talented group of established and trainee scientists, my lab has grown and prospered with publications in top journals including Nature Genetics, PNAS and PLOS Genetics. We have been fortunate over the years to have continuous funding from the NIH and other private foundations to continue our work and we look forward to making an impact on the lives of patients with genetic diseases.